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Midwest Music Foundation Staff Spotlight: Rhonda Lyne

Midwest Music Foundation Staff Spotlight: Rhonda Lyne

The Midwest Music Foundation staff constantly works behind the scenes at live music events you have likely attended. They’re the ones who search for facilities, supply entertainment, coordinate with vendors, and generally ensure that your live music experience will be a good one. They’re also the ones that get the word out about musicians’ health care and other educational resources for musicians, filling a vital gap in the community.
Before the advent of the sixth annual Apocalypse Meow benefit, we hear back from some of the staff to find out what they do and why they do it. Read on to find out more about Rhonda Lyne, MMF’s Director of Development.
The Deli: When and how did you first get involved with MMF?
Rhonda: I first got involved with MMF helping with the first Apocalypse Meow in 2008. The MMF was formed after this event and I was asked to join soon after inception to help with various fundraising events based on my contributions to the first Meow.
The Deli: What is your current role with the organization?
Rhonda: My roles have changed over the years based on need, but mostly I work to organize fundraising events, schedule volunteers, work with health care grant applications and dispense grants, and just make tons of multi-tabbed spreadsheets. :)
The Deli: Why is MMF such an important cause to you? What do you hope it will accomplish in the future?
Rhonda: I got involved with MMF because of my friendship with Abby and her passion for the organization inspired me as well. I made a promise to her before she passed that I would carry on her mission to the best of my abilities. Over the years, it has become a huge part of my life as well. I have always loved live music and did what I could to support it, be it attending shows, hosting bands at my house, or just spreading the good word of the amazing music made in KC and the Midwest. I hope in the future, we can continue to grow and provide resources so that our musicians are compensated for the work they do and can make a living making music. It's such an important part of life and the folks that made it work extremely hard for often very little money or appreciation.
The Deli: Who are some of your favorite local artists?
Rhonda: Oh wow, not sure where to even start on this one. I think I’ll just say "I love them all" as not to get myself in trouble.
The Deli: Do you have a favorite memory of a past Meow? 
Rhonda: Usually I'm too busy working at Meow and other events to really remember much of anything. Some time after the silent auction ends and everyone has paid is when I get to let loose and have some fun. The first year was really amazing how so many folks from the community came together to help Abby. We had to keep adding days because so many bands wanted to play. I had never seen Parlay or Sister Mary Rotten Crotch; Pendergast and Sandoval both played, which were favorites of mine as well. I'm pretty sure Abby got up and sang with Howard Iceberg—that was always a treat. Every year has had tons of great memories with so many amazing bands and people coming together. At Meow 3, I think one of my favorite memories is when the event was over and I was sitting on the coach in the green room at The Riot Room with Abby and Adam Lee and we all had a bottle of Jim Beam in our hands. Abby was the only person that could get me to drink that vile stuff. :)
The Deli: What are you most looking forward to about this year's Meow?
Rhonda: I'm looking forward to hopefully one of our biggest years yet. Knuckleheads is a great space and hopefully Mother Nature will be kind to us so we can fully utilize the entire venue. We have some awesome auction and raffle items and a great lineup. Looking forward to hearing The Philistines for the first time and the return of SMRC to Meow. Also, the addition of the acoustic stage, which we haven't had since the first Meow. It will be bittersweet because Abby won't be there, but I know her spirit will be with all of us that night. I'm sure there will be much laughter and tears and I hope we can raise a ton of money so we can help more musicians in need.
If you can catch her, say hi to Rhonda this weekend at Apocalypse Meow. It starts tomorrow, November 1 at The Midwestern Musical Co. and Saturday at Knuckleheads. Doors open at 6 pm both nights. Friday’s show is free and all ages, Saturday’s show is $10, 21+. Visit http://www.apocalypsemeow.net for a full lineup and schedule. Ticket linkFacebook event page. To find out more about MMF, visit http://midwestmusicfound.org, and learn about Abby's Fund for musicians' health care.


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